MSU receives national gold status as a bicycle-friendly university

Street sign of E Circle Dr on campus, with a "Bicycle Friendly University" sign beneath it

Danielle Fowler

February 22, 2021

The League of American Bicyclists has awarded MSU a gold-level Bicycle Friendly University designation for the first time to recognize the university’s efforts to enable safe, accessible bicycling on campus.

Old photo of two MSU students standing next to a penny farthing bicycle
MSU Cycling Club members with a penny farthing bicycle circa 1894. Source: MSU Bikes

“It’s a great honor for MSU to receive this national recognition of the hard work Team MSU has continued to do over the past five years to make our campus more bike friendly,” said Tim Potter, manager at MSU Bikes.

Only 31 universities in the US have received the gold-level award from the League of American Bicyclists. MSU is the first higher education institution to be awarded gold in Michigan.

Bike-friendly improvements include the completion of 1.2 miles of bike lanes on Wilson Road, putting in of permanent bicyclist counting equipment at all campus signalized intersections, installation of state-of-the-art bike racks at newly constructed campus buildings, and the establishment of MSU Mobility, a community of 40 researchers engaged in interdisciplinary research on mobility and sustainable transportation.

MSU also organized and hosted the Bike Friendly America Conference in 2016, the first comprehensive conference of its kind in the US.

Increasing bicycle infrastructure and enhancing bicycle ridership is not a limited effort. Bicycle-friendly guidance has been incorporated into MSU’s long-term plans for sustainability and transportation, a result of the collaboration between the Office of Sustainability, MSU Bikes, the MSU Bike Advisory Committee, and Infrastructure Planning and Facilities.

"The elevation to a gold BFU award recognizes MSU’s commitment to a sustainable campus; its mission to educate the leaders of tomorrow; and the role that MSU serves as a gateway to neighboring communities via the regional trail system," said Amy Butler, MSU's director of sustainability. With degree programs in sustainable tourism and urban planning, MSU "plays a pivotal role in understanding and demonstrating innovations and connections between biking, trail policy, and sustainable communities."

Though many improvements have been completed recently, MSU boasts a long history with bicycling. The MSU Cycling Club was first established in 1894 by students and faculty, who fundraised for a bicycle-friendly gravel path along Michigan Avenue. In 1960, the first mile of 18-inch bike paths were installed on campus. In 2000, MSU began including safe bike paths in all new roadway construction, and 2006 the MSU Bikes Service Center was founded.

"It is so energizing to have Michigan State University among our cohort of 212 Bicycle Friendly Universities across the country.”
Bill Nesper, executive director, League of American Bicyclists

“It is so energizing to have Michigan State University among our cohort of 212 Bicycle Friendly Universities across the country,” said Bill Nesper, executive director of the League of American Bicyclists. “These colleges and universities are leading by building healthy environments where people can safely get around while improving the well-being of their community by enabling access to sustainable transportation options.”

For more about bicycling at MSU, view MSU Bikes' February “Bike Love” online class series, and get involved and keep up on events through the MSU Bikes Facebook page.